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Charter School Uses Coffee To Improve Lives Of Former High School Drop Outs

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A North Philadelphia Charter School that targets former high school drop outs is seeing success through a new program that prepares youth for a different type of daily grind.

Wearing green aprons and black Starbucks hats, this is the dream team.

"Hi can I get a latte," asks one customer.

These guys are baristas in training at the StarBucks Cafe, located on the 5th floor of Youth Build Charter High School where the education is about a lot more just macchiatos.

"When I first came here I wasn't talking," says Albert Wilson, a Student at Youth Build. "I had a mean face, now I smile all the time."

At 20, Albert Wilson says a long commute and excessive tardiness pushed him out of Overbrook High School. For Daniel St. Sume, it was depression and anxiety that caused him to leave the system. But both of these young men are thriving after a year at Youth Build and their life is getting back on track.

"I see myself doing more positive things, such as service," says Daniel St. Sume, 19.

"It is completely life changing for them," says Stephanie Waller, training coordinator for Youth Build. The school works with 220 students 18 to 24, who take training and academic classes each year at the school. They also oversee 200 more students who have completed the program and are moving their lives forward.

"Some students have gotten jobs, some students have gone to college," says Waller, "some students are doing both."

The Barista Program, created in partnership with Starbucks, is part of the overall effort. They also have training in child care, healthcare, construction and business. The goal is to give kids a leg up to a future they can build on.

"There are new opportunities," says Wilson, "I don't just have to be a barista...I could go to college."

For more on Youth Build Charter School, go to


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